Bill MacKenty

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What would you teach a group of 11 year old kids about text based games - part 3

Posted in Teaching Diary Text-based gaming on 08 - October 2008 at 05:38 PM (15 years ago). 297 views.

part 1  part 2

We started our exploration of MUD’s today (specifically, we played legend mud).  We talked about the similarities and differences between interactive fiction and MUDS. We used Atlantis client to connect. 

After a brief character generation process, we settled into the game - the syntax and milieu was familiar to the kids, save the “real time” aspect of muds.  We noted the status (HP, MP and MV) and looked at SCORE, STAT, and other MUD commands. We put our party in a group and started with small MOB’s like rats, toads and snakes.

The excitement was palpable as the combat started - experience points started flowing into our group and each combat was followed by a period of rest as we waitied for our hit points to regenerate. It wasn’t long before we ended up in a swamp, and encountered something (I forget the name) but it ended in a total party wipe.  Humbled, we restarted and continued our adventures. Again, I was struck with their enthusiasm and excitement. These kids were (not literally) glued to the screen, laughing, jumping out of their seats and carefully coordinating their attacks. A snippet:

Student 1: ok. Everyone type attack toad, but DONT PUSH ENTER!
Student 2: ok
Student 3: where is the d key? oh yea. ok!
Student 4: ready!
Student 1: ok! now!

(The poor toad never had a chance)

The time went quickly and with 5 minutes left, we debriefed.  Again, we discussed the differences between MUDs and interactive fiction. We talked about making a text based game, and they were full of questions; how long does it take? Can I make a mud? I want to make a mud like our school! Is it difficult? They seem especially interested in making their own game…I warned them that making a game takes a long time.

I told them we still need to explore the MUSH family of games (there is a world war II mush I might take them to in a few weeks) and then we will decide what kind of game we will make.  I reminded them about the differences between single player and multiplayer, and I told them I knew more about mushing and interactive fiction than mudding, but if they really wanted to make a mud, I’d learn with them.

Next week, we will continue to play this mud, and I’ll start looking for a decent mush.